Baby Books

I’ve been reading both English and Polish books to Baby Viking since he was born. Ideally, I wish I could incorporate a book before bedtime but that’s a battle I’ll allow myself to lose for now. I include reading into playtime and sometimes before naps. Sometimes he sits quietly and takes it all in while other times he just wants to eat the book. Either way, it’s fun! Here are our favorites!

Our Favorite Books

Continue reading “Baby Books”

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I Miss You, Sleep

If there is any advice I can give to a future mom or even a mom who has yet to be pregnant but plans on it in the near future – enjoy sleep! Enjoy endless unbothered sleep. Enjoy sleeping in and enjoy hitting that snooze button or better yet, don’t even set an alarm! As an almost 30 year old, I did my share of partying in my early 20s. All of which involved running on energy drinks and choosing to sleep maybe 3 hours max at times.

Key word here is choosing. I chose that lifestyle at the time and I knew what I was setting myself up for. Of course I knew that a baby meant my sleeping in was over but there is a whole other level of sleep deprivation that you know nothing about til you experience it. One night, you get to sleep for 3 hours consecutively. The next night, you are up every 45 minutes. You absolutely never know what to expect and at sleep regressions, you dream about those 2 consecutive hours of sleep!

For me, the worst is the just falling asleep and then having to wake up again when you barely closed your eyes. At times now, I barely remember how many times I’ve woken up or what time it is. The walk to our son’s bedroom and the walk back is a blur and I don’t even remember it! My mistake is always being locked into the monitor and waiting for him to fall asleep instead of just hitting the hay immediately.

We were so lucky that the first few months, he would sleep 9 or 10 hours without waking. Welp, that ended quickly! Of course, I wouldn’t change my life and have it any other way but boy oh boy do I miss sleep. Mostly I miss not walking around the whole day like a zombie and drinking buckets of coffee to play with the little guy!

So advice to you – sleep! Sleep before you get pregnant as I stared at the ceiling towards the end of my pregnancy since he would kick all night long and I can’t stand sleeping on my back! Get your sleep on because it’ll be another 18 years before you are best friends with your pillow again.

Growth Spurts, Leaps & Wonder Weeks

My son will be 30 weeks on Friday and a week and a half ago he became super clingy and impossible to do anything around. Don’t get me wrong, I already know I have a very attentive baby who demands that his needs are met immediately (will be discussed in a future blog) but these past weeks, he freaks out when being placed in his crib for a nap as if I’ll never come back. I knew he just went through Leap 5 and the next Leap isn’t til May but out of curiosity I popped into my Wonder Weeks app. What do you know? Week 29 & 30 include fussy and irritable behavior due to baby learning about distance!

Before I was pregnant or had Baby Viking, I had no clue about spurts leaps or Wonder Weeks. Of course, I heard about it in one of my baby groups! The book was written by a Dutch couple and outlines the weeks babies go through the first 20 months of life which include sleep regressions and periods of fussiness. It offers parents insights to understand what is going on with your baby’s new skills.

I do not own the book but I do have the app on my phone. It cost a mere $1.99 but so worth it to get a better understanding of why my baby is impossible or suddenly can’t sleep through the night. The weeks are based off due date but I added both to my app and quickly realized Baby Viking was following along with his birthdate. Every. Single. Time. that he is impossible, after a few days I log into the app and go OH! We are going through something! I was so skeptical at first and just downloaded it almost to say yeah okay this is bologna but nope, it has helped so much! Also, after every wonder week he develops a new skill and my jaw just drops how helpful it is.

This is just one thing out of the millions that I’ve learned in the last half year and hope this book or app can help you get a bit of understanding of your little one!

Ps. Leap 4 and 5 were definitely the WORST!

 

Breastfeeding MUST HAVE – Haakaa

001_1__listAs a first time mom with not many friends that have babies, most of what I find or learn is due to the great old Internet. Around 3 months after Baby Viking was born, I began to start seeing posts about the Haakaa in my favorite Facebook group for September 2016 Babies. Boy oh boy,  how I wish I knew about this sooner! I probably would have stock piled enough milk for multiple babies!

When you first give birth and begin to nursing, you leak. Most of the leaking for me occurred when I was nursing from the breast that was not receiving any attention. As the let down was happening for my son, the opposite breast was also letting down and my nursing pads were drenched by the end of the feeding. Continue reading “Breastfeeding MUST HAVE – Haakaa”

Baby Viking’s Story

My nesting was in full force, I was cleaning probably way more than I should have been and nagging my husband to put the finishing touches on our son’s nursery. The theme is travel and I finally got him to hang up the world map we were using as an accent piece. As I sat there in most comfortable glider imagining how our life was going to change at the end of the month, I had no idea we would be bringing our Baby Viking home the very next week.

FYI My son’s name is Szymon but throughout this blog I’ll be referring to him more frequently as Baby Viking. We have a fascination with Vikings, even the show, as it was one of the first we watched as a couple almost 3 years ago. Szymon’s middle name is Ragnar, also derived from a historical Viking. Follow him on Instagram – babyviking.

Continue reading “Baby Viking’s Story”

Back With Even More Love

Merely a year and a half ago I had all intentions of blogging about anything and everything related to wedding planning. Well, in that short time I found out I was pregnant and have been blessed with our little baby Viking. He’s already 6 months old! As an adult, time surely does fly by quickly unlike those days in elementary school where they never ended and you just counted down ’til summer break.

Now that my life has changed immensely, the concept of this blog has also changed. I have been thinking about blogging during every moment I have to myself (mostly only in the shower and as my eyes close for the night before baby wakes up crying!). So I am extremely psyched to finally have a beautiful logo and update the theme a bit. I’ll be blogging about the blessings, struggles, my experiences and of course doing reviews of baby things and even household things! I’m a stay at home mom now so sometimes I have all these adult thoughts in my head that baby Viking just doesn’t want to hear about, this is the perfect gateway for me to share! I’ll also regularly be posting on the Sparkled With Love Facebook with live videos so I can get ideas of what you want to read about!

I’m an open book and I want this blog to be honest and uncensored. There have been so many things I had to Google or ask in forums to complete strangers. I’m grateful that such avenues exist, I don’t know how parents did it before the Internet! Our friends don’t really have babies and we come from small families in which our baby is the first so answers to some of our struggles have been hard to come by! It’s been an exciting journey! With that said, I’ll still post some reviews of our wedding vendors and experiences since that definitely was one of the best days of my life! Thank you for continuing to be a part of my journey and for reading my blog!

Please subscribe with your email on the right to get blog updates and remember to follow the Facebook! Talk to you soon!

Credit to Sylvester Design & Graphics for the gorgeous logo and revamp! Thank you for getting my blog back into gear and helping with the technical aspect.

#hashtagyourwedding

Weddings are nothing like they were 20 years ago due to advancements in technology and various fads. You very rarely will spot a disposable camera at a wedding. It’s rare to even spot a regular camera unless it’s the actual wedding photographer with it. Guests take pictures on their phones and immediately post them to social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I don’t blame anyone, who wants to wait months upon months to see pictures of themselves with their wedding couples? We want them now!

With this new obsession of letting the world know where you are and showing your friends the glamorous wedding you are at – it’s absolutely essential to make a wedding hashtag! With this wedding hashtag; your guests can snap pictures, use your hashtag in the caption and wham bam those pictures will go into a bundle of all pictures that guests have taken. This is great because you don’t have to be Facebook friends with all the guests to see some great moments that you may have missed! For example, does anyone notice the wedding cake cutting anymore? You were probably eating your delicious soup but the table right next to the cake was capturing the groom messing up the bride’s makeup.

You can place your #weddinghashtag where you place your name cards on some fancy sign or make it part of your centerpiece. Make sure to let your guests know your hashtag!

Use an easy to remember hashtag, if possible use a play on words. Make your hashtag something memorable. If you have no creative bones in your body, check out WeddingWire’s hashtag generator.

I’m stuck in between two for our wedding. One featuring our nicknames and the other due to my future last name having a very close resemblance to a popular family in today’s society.

#pyziaiharnas
or
#keepingupwiththekardaszes

Happy Hash-tagging on this beautiful Friday!

I’m Engaged! …Now What?

Bartek proposed to me on Christmas Eve of 2014, the most memorable and cherished moment of my life. It was an absolute surprise to me. As a Polish family, we open presents on Christmas Eve and the ring was actually the very last present that I opened. I was so excited to open my Kindle that I didn’t even expect anything more. The best part is that the whole time I thought my court side tickets to the Bulls were going to make this Christmas extra special for him. I was surely wrong. Take note, I don’t admit to being wrong very often!

We celebrated throughout Christmas and New Year’s. As the holidays dwindled down and we all returned to our daily lives, what were we to do now? Of course, a future bride and groom must enjoy every moment of the engagement. Enjoy the many congratulations and every bride must appreciate all the times that every girlfriend asks to see the ring! Though it will get repetitive, enjoy telling the world how he proposed. Us girls love those stories! We can’t watch Lifetime movies or The Notebook at work so we want to hear all the details!

While you enjoy, the next step is to talk to your fiancé about the future. Discuss whether you want this to happen in the near future or years down the road. Communication is key and planning together is necessary. Bartek and I would have gotten married the next month if it was possible! We picked to get married by the end of the year so planning went full force! Once you decide on a time span, decide on an approximate date. Eliminate any dates you definitely don’t want to get married. For example, we did not want a summer wedding as the Chicago humidity is not something we wanted to endure. As we chose the month of October, we immediately eliminated October 31st as this is Halloween. After you pick an approximate wedding date, discuss wedding venues. If you plan getting married in the near future and know of a venue you absolutely love, call them immediately and inquire what dates they have available.

We knew we wanted a traditional Polish wedding at a Polish banquet hall. Though we live in Chicago and the Polish population is ginormous here along with the amount of banquet halls, our desire to get married in less than a year definitely eliminated many reception sites as couples plan years in advance! (In a future post, I’ll help those Polish brides in the Chicago area with some recommendations).

As you are discussing dates and venues, you must begin that awkward financial conversation. This may decipher when your wedding can take place or just the general size of your wedding. Make a budget and stick to it, decide how much you are willing to spend on the most important day of your life as a couple. You may be willing to spend an arm and a leg or you may be a couple that would rather spend that money on your future. The important thing is to have this conversation with open communication, listen to one another and appreciate that you are in this together now.

If you have gone to a wedding and fell in love with the venue, good for you! If you are my Bartek and have only attended a wedding or two, begin calling those banquet halls and setting up appointments to see them. I did a thorough Google search of Polish banquet halls in the Chicago-land area, made phone calls, took recommendations from friends and grabbed my mom to the appointments. Ask your fiancé if he wants to join! Planning is fun and can bring you together as a couple. This is the most important thing you’ll plan together to begin the rest of your lives. Take pictures so you can remember everything or so you can show your future husband. 

At your appointments, have a list of questions to ask that are important to you. My first question always revolved around the food as to us that is one of the keys of a good wedding reception. If the bar is most important to you, ask what types of alcohol they serve. Find out how long you can be in the building, if you can bring in your own decorations, what the decoration options are, if they have a bakery they use or if they can even bake your wedding cake in house, what the maximum amount of people in the hall can be, if there is a fee for slicing the cake, how much the chair covers or table cloths will cost, the various dinner options, how much a plate for children is, etc etc. There are numerous blogs and Wedding checklists out there with lists of what to ask before you sign that intimidating contract.

Upon signing that contract, call your church and see if the same date is available. If you have a band or DJ that you must absolutely have, call them too and see if the date is available. Some couples may love a photographer and will circle their wedding completely around their available dates. If there is someone in your mind that is required at your wedding, call them and ensure they have that wedding date in your mind available. As you book your reception place, ceremony location (which may be the same), entertainment, florist, photographer and videographer – take a deep breath. Now that you have all the big things out of your way, enjoy being engaged! 

Book an engagement session, wear matching outfits and run through the meadows holding hands!

Welcome to my Wedding Planning Frustrations

As early as I can remember, weddings put a smile on my face. Every aspect of a wedding made me giddy as the fairytale stories from my childhood of never-ending love sparked happiness in my heart and soul. As a child, I went to numerous weddings and all the traditions absolutely enticed me. As reality television took over our flat screens, I, like any female could not get enough of the wedding dress shows or David Tutera’s master planning skills. Now with Pinterest, almost every girl has her wedding envisioned before she even meets her soulmate.

Wedding planning is a full-time job especially if you are doing it on your own. Take it from me, engaged on Christmas Eve of 2014 and now I am 127 days from our wedding date and at this point I don’t know left from right. After numerous decisions, I can’t even remember if I love sparkle anymore. Just kidding, I’ll forever love sparkle. Don’t take my sparkle away from me.

I wanted to start this blog as a way for other brides to know that they aren’t alone. As a way to get advice out there to other ladies who are googling “I’m engaged, now what?” or “I’m 4 months away from my wedding and I started with pink as my color scheme and now I have lime green dresses”. Wedding planning is overwhelming but luckily, the internet is now there for us for all our questions. More importantly, I wanted a keepsake for myself to treasure in the future. I, also need an avenue to vent and release those wedding planning stresses. Alongside, when I entered college my major was English so I’ve always fancied writing and wanted to bring it back into my life.

This is entry one and I welcome you into the midst of my wedding planning frustrations!